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We’ve all been in dating situations where it’s hard to get a good read on the other person. Is your date interested in building a relationship? Or are they just being polite? It can be difficult to tell sometimes, and that’s why seeking the advice of an experienced dating expert can be very helpful to the typical single person.
Sherri Murphy is the founder and CEO of Elite Connections International, a private matchmaking firm that has been inspiring relationships since 1994. The company’s elite matchmakers work closely with clients to not only find them a compatible match but ensure they have the knowledge and skillset to turn a great date into a long-lasting relationship.
“As an elite matchmaker for 28 years, I‘ve discussed dating with thousands of singles,” said Sherri Murphy when we talked to her.
She points out some easy-to-spot signs that your date isn’t interested in continuing the relationship as well as some encouraging signals that the date is going well.
First, we’ll start by pointing out the things you don’t want to see on a first date. Here are some bad signs that things aren’t going so well.
Successful first dates are about getting to know a new person and finding common ground – not about checking notifications on a phone or scrolling through social media. If a date checks a text or – in a worst-case scenario – answers a phone call while out with you, that is a very bad sign. Not to mention rude.
You can and should expect your date’s full attention when you’re out together. It doesn’t matter if it’s a formal dinner or a more casual drink at a bar or coffee shop. The focus should be on your conversation, not on a mobile device.
Sherri told us that a common mistake she sees singles make on dates is not asking enough questions of the other person. Failing to ask personal questions can signal that the date is one-sided and not genuinely invested in finding compatible viewpoints and interests.
First dates can be pretty short sometimes – it’s often good to leave a new person wanting more – but if the other person starts making excuses to leave after 15 or 20 minutes, that means they’re looking for an escape, not a second date.
If they seem in a hurry to get the check and end the date, they are probably not feeling a spark and want to leave so they’re not wasting time on a dead end connection.
Sherri said it’s a red flag if the other person is “looking at their watch and saying they need to leave soon.”
Sherri described this bad sign in simple terms: “They are not focused on you and looking around the room when you’re talking to them.”
It’s not a good signal if you frequently find your date is looking at a television screen over your shoulder instead of at you. They shouldn’t be looking around very much at all. They should keep their eyes on you if they want to show clear romantic interest.
After the date is over, you should expect to either send or receive a follow-up text or call to continue the romantic relationship. Men are typically the ones to take the lead on this, but women can also reach out if it’s been a day or two without word back.
“If you really liked him, it can’t hurt to send a text thanking him for dinner (the very next day) and say it was nice to meet him,” Sherri suggested. “That’s simply being polite. Don’t contact him again if he doesn’t reply.”
Sherri emphasized the importance of sending a polite follow-up and not being too pushy after the date is over. If your date isn’t replying to your call or text messages, that person is most likely ghosting you and not interested in you romantically. Don’t press the issue. Just move on to the next person on your potential match list!
Now let’s switch gears. Here are five good signs or green flags to look for while on a date with someone new.
You can usually see if your date is interested by staring deeply into that person’s eyes. Are they always looking back at you? Is there strong eye contact between the two of you? The longer your eyes meet, the more intimacy you create, so it’s a strong indicator of romantic attraction.
“Interested dates look at you while you’re talking,” Sherri said. “They don’t keep looking at their watch or phone or looking around the room.”
Sherri told us that another good sign of romantic interest can be found in the conversation. A lot of questions coming your way means your date is curious about you and looking to get to know you better. That’s obviously a great sign.
As you answer their questions, take note if they seem to be listening closely and asking follow-up questions based on what you say.
Getting one word answers from a date can be frustrating, and it’s not a good sign of romantic interest. It’s much better when a date gives you a lot of personal insight into who they are and what they want out of life. That means they are trying to connect with you on a deeper level, so that’s what you should be looking for as you chat.
As Sherri described it, “Good dates talk about their life, laugh, and are enjoying the conversation.”
Again, dates don’t always last more than an hour or two, but sometimes a couple really hits things off and spends a great deal of time wrapped up in conversation. Dates that continue past the point when it’s polite to leave are often the most successful in terms of sparking a genuine relationship.
Sherri told us it’s a good sign if both individuals on the date are wrapped up in conversation and not looking at the clock.
Your date can show interest and extend your time together in a number of ways. Maybe they suggest getting dessert after dinner, or maybe they ask to walk you back to your car or home. If they’re looking for reasons to continue hanging out, they are interested in you.
Of course, the most promising sign that a new relationship is forming comes after the date is over. When a person is interested in you, they aren’t typically going to wait very long to get in touch and try to see you again. The rules are a little different for men and women, but a quick follow-up text – even something as simple as “it was great to meet you” – is a great indicator of continued interest.
“It’s a good sign if they call or text you within a couple days of meeting and say something positive,” Sherri told us.
Sherri Murphy has matched many high-caliber single people over the years, and her experience hearing feedback from both sides of the date can be invaluable. As a modern matchmaker, her job is to support people on the journey to love and provide insights based on the many successes she’s seen over the years.
“In this business, you have to love it. You can’t just be in it for the money — because you’re not going to make anyone happy that way,” Sherri said in a prior interview. “What has made us successful is our passion for helping people find love.”
Sherri recommends that daters show genuine interest, ask icebreaker questions, and keep an eye out for the good and bad signs when meeting someone new. If you pay attention, you can read the signals your date is putting out there and determine how promising your new connection is.